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Cómo maximizar los resultados de ventas de exhibiciones y patrocinios en la nueva normalidad

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La vicepresidenta de investigación de CEIR, Nancy Drapeau, amplía la información clave compartida por expertos de la industria y obtenida a través de la investigación de ventas de patrocinios y exhibiciones de CEIR que muestra que los organizadores pueden utilizar para acelerar sus eventos.

By Mary Tucker | Sr. Communications & Content Manager | CEIR

CEIR’s most recent webinar, Cómo maximizar los resultados de ventas de exhibiciones y patrocinios en la nueva normalidad, offers participants the opportunity to access information presented at its sold-out special session held during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2023 last December.

Moderator Nancy Drapeau, IPC, CEIR Vice President of Research invites industry experts to share the tactics and strategies they have applied to their post-COVID events for successful revenue generation from exhibits and sponsorships. The panelists are:

  • Diedra A. Crawford, CEM-AP, CMP, DES | Senior Director, Industry Sales and Operations | Digestive Disease Week;
  • Jeff Davis | Group Vice President, Action Sports & Outdoor | Emerald X; and
  • Christine Klein, CMP | Senior Vice President, Meetings, Divisions & Partnerships | National Defense Industrial Association.

Here, Nancy reflects on key insights that emerged from the discussion and how this information, along with data from CEIR’s Enfoques de ventas de exhibición y patrocinio que impulsan el crecimiento de los ingresos study, can help show organizers achieve successful revenue outcomes in their events.

You present the most popular performance metrics used and identify which are most effective in enabling events to achieve their overall exhibit and sponsorship sales goals. Why is it important for sales teams to set their performance goals at the front end of the planning process and how can this data help them determine what those goals should be?

Nancy: Focus is everything. Defining what success looks like at the outset of exhibit and sponsorship sales planning has a powerful effect on the team. Performance metrics help them filter exhibit sales approaches, sponsorship options under consideration on how likely the approach will enable them to achieve or surpass defined performance metrics. Metrics used focus on sales results, but also on how options will enhance the attendee experience and other factors that help maximize success of an event overall.

For example, one of the most popular and effective metrics is defining a net revenue/profitability performance metric goal. It immediately communicates to the team the need to ensure that any sponsorship idea put forward will cover its costs. It sets boundaries on what is reasonable to undertake and might chasten some to come up with lofty custom sponsorship ideas that could result in a revenue loss for an event.

Another popular performance metric is maximizing the positive impact on the attendee experience. That end goal helps trigger in the minds of sponsorship sales filtering proposed custom sponsorships whether they will maximize the attendee experience, rather than purely driving revenue.

The panelists share the various communications they have with their exhibitors and sponsors, and how they maintain those relationships. How does this correlate with the data from the study, and what are the greatest benefits gained?

Nancy: Performance metrics also focus on how well events perform against exhibitor and sponsor expectations. Panelist commentary on this topic is in line with study results, which indicate that the most extensive communications are with strategically important exhibitors and sponsors. For the larger number of exhibitors and sponsors, organizers rely on assessments via surveys. There is a missed opportunity to provide more information to the larger audience of exhibitors and sponsors, for them to understand how the event performed compared to their expectations.

This kind of reporting can serve as a tool for sales staff to reach out and discuss this assessment. It might encourage exhibitors and sponsors to consider how to modify their investment in a show moving forward. It would convey that exhibit sponsorship sales staff want to partner with companies that invest in their event. This can strengthen the relationship moving forward.

Panelists offer different views and examples of the power of reporting back to exhibitors and sponsors the return on investment (ROI) they received and how in-depth that should be. What do you consider the most critical step in the reporting process, regardless of how involved it may be?

Nancy: As I noted in my previous answer, something should be done. The biggest barrier to providing some kind of reporting to all exhibitors and sponsors is the bandwidth to compile that data into a report. Customizing it on a per exhibitor basis, when a show has hundreds of exhibitors is likely not possible. That is a lot to compile. I urge readers to listen to the webinar on-demand to hear specific examples on how the panelists address this.

I would say, at minimum, create some kind of report card for the show that can be compiled and shared with exhibitors in general. Most events offer lead retrieval rental – perhaps provide a snapshot on sales lead generation at a show level, percentage leads scanned by key attendee industry sectors or job title categories. Might that give exhibitors something to compare their lead generation results against? How about tracking of media impressions, social media sharing, is there something that can be reported out at the show level that will be of interest to exhibitors and sponsors that participated to supporting branding objectives. Come up with show level results for other popular objectives for exhibiting.

A fair amount of conversation centers around marketing and advertising revenue generators. Panelists share their strategies in creating what you refer to as the “secret sauce” that works best for their shows. What are the biggest pain points in this process, and how can sales teams use the data to tackle these?

Nancy: In this study, marketing and advertising options sold by an event are defined as sponsorships. These include pre-event options exhibitors can purchase to promote their participation at a show and onsite and post promotional options. The results indicate that many marketing and advertising options are effective revenue generators for their events. The “secret sauce” is to assure which options are sold align with the marketing channel preferences exhibitors use to promote to attendees AND options attendees are likely to use. So, if there’s a possible barrier, it would be a misalignment between the two.

As an example, if an exhibitor invests in social media engagement that is curated by an organizer that posts on-premise happenings on Facebook, and those posts generate minimal or no engagement from attendees because this audience is more active on LinkedIn, that would be a misalignment. Basically, know your audience, adjust marketing and advertising options accordingly. The exhibit and sponsorship sales team should consult with their attendee acquisition team for the best options to sell. Post-show surveys with attendees need to identify their media consumption preferences, get specific on which social media sites they visit for business purposes, include options like TikTok, Snapchat, and other sites where Gen Z might be active; include influencers on this list! And for exhibitors, ask what their current marketing channel mix is and get specific on which social media sites on which they are active.

Another hot topic is the method used to sell booths. You note there is a cultural shift happening in how sales are executed, and panelists detail the changes they are seeing in their organizations along with what works for their shows. Looking at the data and feedback you are receiving since the study, where do you see the sales process going in the near future?

Nancy: There are opportunities to streamline how exhibit booths are sold and a number of organizers are doing this already. Some prospective exhibitors might prefer buying a booth via a self-serve online form. Today, almost anything can be purchased online – think Amazon, Uber, Grubhub, live entertainment tickets… the list is endless. So, experiment with using this option. This study finds selling exhibit booths is as effective a revenue generator as other staff-assisted sales options. This enables an event to possibly redirect some exhibit and sponsorship sales staff to in-person sales efforts that offer higher sales revenue potential.

However, panelists and executives in the audience at the CEIR special session at ¡Exposición! ¡Exposición! Reunión y exposición anual de la IAEE are emphatic that once an exhibitor purchases a booth this way, follow-up is warranted to check in with the new exhibitor to make sure they consider and invest appropriately to maximize the outcome of why they signed up for the event. Pre-event marketing is critical to maximize the outcome of exhibiting. And depending on the objectives for exhibiting, other sponsorships, beyond the booth may be worth considering. So, give exhibit booth prospects an option to buy via online self-serve. Once prospects make that purchase, reach out to them to upsell.

How to reach out to these exhibitors, and exhibitors in general, is becoming challenging. Discussions at the Expo! Expo! session and at other industry events note it is harder to get someone to answer the phone. And Gen Z professionals are emphatic that they do not like to answer calls. This is a cultural shift we’re in the middle of, I believe. It suggests to me that how sales teams reach out to new customers needs to be intentional. Reach out via email or ask for mobile phone at the moment of purchase and reach out to them via text message, asking for a chance to talk with the individual by phone or video call. Consider using text with existing customers too, asking for a time for a phone or video call. Don’t call them impromptu.

Admittedly, for me, a young Boomer/older Gen Xer, not using the phone at the beginning is frustrating. I prefer phone communications. But it is important to honor/respect customer preferences.

The conversation ends with dialogue on how panelists close sales and prepare for the next show cycle. In looking at the data, what approaches seem to be most promising as the industry shifts from recovery mode toward growth mode?

Nancy: I would say that consultative selling is the way forward, and this is the case in good times or bad. Training staff to have conversations with exhibitors, hear their needs/challenges, and fashion a solution that aligns with their most urgent marketing and sales objectives. Moving forward, strategic use of CRM data, using it via analytics, will help organizers that adopt this approach fill their sales lead funnels more quickly and nurture and convert them to customers at a faster pace.

Don’t miss out on the latest findings from CEIR! Sign up for upcoming webinars aquí and access the full library of CEIR research aquí.

Los puntos de vista y opiniones expresados por los autores del blog son los de los autores y no reflejan necesariamente la política o posición oficial de la Asociación Internacional de Exposiciones y Eventos®. Cualquier contenido proporcionado por nuestros bloggers o autores es de su opinión. Todo el contenido proporcionado en este blog es sólo para fines informativos. La IAEE no se responsabiliza de la exactitud o integridad de la información contenida en este sitio o que se encuentre al seguir cualquier enlace de este sitio. IAEE no será responsable de ningún error u omisión en esta información ni de la disponibilidad de esta información.

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